Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quigley hopes to follow in Pujols’ footsteps at Maple Woods

July 28, 2011

When Nathan Quigley was a youth playing baseball, he had a lot of dreams.

He dreamed of playing college or professional baseball.

He dreamed of playing in a state baseball tournament.

He dreamed of the future, hoping to excel in the game.

Quigley’s dreams have come to fruition this spring, culminating with his signing to play baseball at Maple Woods Community College.

“I am pretty excited about it,” Quigley said. “I think it is a great opportunity.”

He expects to play third base for Maple Woods and said it is a great place to begin his college career.

Perhaps no school has a story to tell of what a player can become than Maple Woods. A young first baseman played for Maple Woods and went on to be drafted in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball draft. Today, that player — Albert Pujols — has a resume that includes numerous All-Star nods and multiple league MVP honors. Pujols is an example to Quigley of what is possible by starting at Maple Woods, and it’s reason to continue dreaming big.

Today, Pujols has a connection to the Maple Woods program.

“They have a new facility that he paid for, and it is up to date and nice,” Quigley said. “Everyone is real nice. I think he comes down and visits. I am excited to see what it has to offer.”

Quigley said he felt comfortable with the team and said he liked the situation at Maple Woods. He chose it over opportunities to play baseball or football at other schools.

“The coaches all seem to be great guys,” he said. “They told me that they are not going to sugarcoat anything. I am looking forward to the opportunity there. I just saw it as the best chance to go on and play somewhere else by going there first.”

He has talked with NCAA Division I coaches about playing for them. Regardless of the future, signing to play college baseball is a lifelong dream that began when he was 5 years old and playing baseball with his father, Tim Quigley.

“My dad … it is a dream of his for me to go on and play,” he said. “The feeling of making my whole entire family proud is awesome. I can’t wait to go on and play and show everyone what I can really do.”

He realizes it wouldn’t be possible without the coaches at Basehor-Linwood working with him.

“I want to thank all of my coaches in all the different sports, and all the family and friends,” he said. “They helped me get through a lot, and I appreciate it. I have just grown every year. It has been really awesome because while I was there, we built nice facilities out there. Regardless of what the team has done in the past, we’ve been trying to make it a winning program. Just the feeling that I contributed to that is really special to me, and I am really excited to see what they can do in the future.”

To his credit, Quigley played a pivotal role in helping rebuild Basehor-Linwood’s baseball team. Earlier in the spring, he helped the Bobcats qualify for state by defeating defending state champion Bishop Ward in the Class 4A regional tournament, surpassing his expectations for the season.

“This year I didn’t think we would get to .500, but we did,” he said. “Taking out Bishop Ward in regional play was really special, that was just awesome.”

A week later, he played in the Class 4A state tournament. Quigley homered in his final at-bat, hitting a curve ball over the fence.

“I saw it immediately and I took advantage of it,” he said. “I swung as hard as I could and hit it out.”

The hit gave Basehor-Linwood new life, sending a wave of electricity through the Bobcat dugout. He thought BLHS had a chance to rally after the home run. The game ultimately ended in a BLHS loss, but it doesn’t diminish the entire experience. Quigley said it was nice to see alumni return and watch the Bobcats play in the state tournament.

“It was just really special; the game meant a lot to everyone,” he said. “It is just sad that we could not pull through and win a couple games. Still, it was all really special.”

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